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Maybe the Bruins hit rock bottom, then bounced back up. Trailing 1-0 then 2-1 at home to Nashville (dead last in the Central Division), Boston came from behind to pull out an important 3-2 win on Wednesday.
With All-Star (and last year’s leading scorer) Marc Savard joining Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton on the injury list, the Bruins fell behind twice and were in danger of dropping to 3-5 on the season and 2-4 on home ice.
But, Patrice Bergeron tied it late in the second period and Steve Begin scored the eventual game-winner with 11:27 left in the game.
Four new players joined the Boston lineup for this game, including new acquisition Daniel Paille (not pronounced pale, as in whiter shade of Paille, but rather “Pie, eh?” as in a Canadian offering you a slice of tasty pie).
A former first-round draft pick, Paille was acquired from the Sabres on Tuesday, and the Bruins called up Brad Marchand, Trent Whitfield, and Vladimir Sobotka from Providence to replace the injured regulars.
The Bruins started sluggishly. After killing a first period penalty, they watched David Legwand dance through pretty much their entire team, before leaving the puck on the figurative doorstep of the goal, where Jered Smithson flipped it through Tim Thomas’s 5-hole for the first goal of the game. It was Smithson’s first goal of the year, and the first point of the season for Legwand (the second overall pick in the draft in 1998).
The Bruins continued to generally bumble around the ice ineffectively for the rest of the period. Seconds before intermission, Nashvillain Cal O’Reilly ripped a laser past Thomas that clanged off the inside of the post. Derek Morris alertly dove to sweep the rebound away from the gaping net, and the period ended with the Preds leading 1-0.
The second period was a different story. Claude Julien evidently got the attention of his charges in the locker room with some inspirational speechifying, as the Bruins came out flying. (Not literally flying, they were actually still skating on the ice, but just much more effectively than before.)
Only 26 seconds after the break, Michael Ryder flipped a backhander into the top corner of the net to tie the score. Rookie center Marchand recorded his first NHL point on the play, and Morris also added an assist.
The tie only lasted about six minutes. The Nashvillains broke in on a 3-on-2, and Patric Hornqvist snapped a shot that Thomas blocked with his arm. But, the puck popped into the air, then bounced provocatively around the goal line, with both teams swinging at it madly. Former Boston University Terrier Colin Wilson was the only one able to get a stick on it, tapping it into the net for a 2-1 Nashville lead and his first goal of the year.
With things looking grim and less than 8 minutes left in the period, Patrice Bergeron pulled the Bruins even. Bergeron controlled a wide shot from Zdeno Chara and stuffed it in off the stick of prone Preds goalie Dan Ellis to tie the game again.
In the third, Boston had two power plays in the first six minutes, but couldn’t convert, despite generating some pressure on Ellis.
But with 11:27 left, Predator Shea Weber comically collided with the referee, and Paille snatched the puck and swooped around the net with it. Paille fed Begin in the slot, and Begin sent it home to put the B’s in front for the first time.
The Bruins had a chance to put the game away with a minute and a half to go when they broke in on a 2-on-1, but Marco Sturm’s shot was saved by Ellis.
Nashville coach Barry “Wow that’s a silly name” Trotz pulled Ellis for an extra skater with a minute to go, and Thomas had to come up with a big stop on a Hornqvist wrister from in front with 38 seconds left to preserve the lead.
Nashville generated more pressure in the closing seconds but Thomas easily handled Shea Weber’s drive as time expired, and the Bruins held on for the hard-fought and much-needed comeback win.
Nashville outshot Boston 30 to 27, and Thomas made 28 saves.